Cab Drivers at Bengaluru’s International Airport, Kempegowda, have officially come off strike, and will resume their services with immediate effect. In recent days, the Airport’s Taxi Services have been disrupted due to Cab Drivers striking over Benglauru International Airport Limited’s (BIAL) commission charges taken from their fares.
Subsequently, discussions took place between Cab Driver Associations, BIAL, Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and Local Police. The President of the Airport Taxi Owners Association, Hamid Akbar Ali is optimistic that the decision to come off strike won’t need to be reversed. He said, “We called off the strike at 3pm on Thursday 1st April. We have been assured that our issues will be resolved by Monday 6th April. We demand One Airport, One Fare. We will be forced to go on an indefinite strike if our demands are not met”
Took A Tragedy For Action To Be Taken
On Tuesday 31st March 2021, a Cab Driver associated with the Airport’s Taxi Service committed suicide. His name was Pratap, aged just 34. It is believed that he was unable to pay the Equated Monthly Instalments for operating his vehicle, due to a surge in fuel prices combined with a reduction in journey fares, the latter of which can be attributed largely to the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A leading Cab Union spokesperson, Tanveer Pasha, said, “We are also demanding the commission charged by BIAL be reduced till business improves. It’s charging between Rs 118 and Rs 160 per trip. There are no proper drinking water and toilet facilities for drivers. We also want shelters for cabbies at the airport.”
Furthermore, the extent of the strike, was felt by passengers commuting to and from Bengaluru’s Main Airport, who rely on Cab Services due to the lack of other dependable modes of public transport serving the Airport. Indeed, any Cab Driver willing to accommodate passengers during the strike period were charging heavily inflated fares.
The airport, which first opened in 2008, serves as the main airport for the Indian city of Bangalore, which has a population of over 8 million people. Operating two runways, Kempegowda Airport is the third busiest airport in India.